One of the more underappreciated and underrated teams from last season was Manny Furtado’s Lakehead Thunderwolves, who overcame injuries and a sluggish November to push into the OUA quarter-finals, winning a road playoff game at Western before succumbing to Wilson Cup champions Ryerson on the road in a game they led midway through the second and trailed by only 11 late in the third. Furtado’s group plays with an edge, especially on the defensive end and expect this team to challenge for a deeper run this season.
Originally thought to have move on after graduation, 6’5″ glue wing Alexandre Robichaud announced during the summer he will return after getting into grad school. As well, 6’1″ Mor Menashe, an experience, quality combo guard who missed all of last season due to injury, will also return. Both will be rotation stalwards, joining slick lefty 5’11” pg Henry Tan and 6’5″ Bacarius Dinkins as Lakehead brings a lineup that could go deep into the post-season.
Furtado has at least 3 key recruits including 6’1″ Taysean Cavaliers from Pickering Pine Ridge, where he broke the school record for points in a game with 61 this past season. Cavaliers is a definite rotation guy who can play all three guard/wing positions as an athletic slasher – he shapes up as Lakehead’s top recruit at present. 6’2″ Nahshon Hurst from Bill Crothers was an early commit and should progress into a solid CIS wing. Furtado is optimistic that 6’5″ Kingsley Campbell Olsen, from Hamilton Saltfleet will eventually develop into a quality 4 man in the league. The Wolves had previously announced that 6’7″ Abednego Lufile, a transfer from East Tennessee State, would join but Lufile is not longer with the program.
Don’t forget that Lakehead also returns a pair of young, emerging guards in 6’0″ Darnell Curtin, who came into his own down the stretch especially during the playoff run and should get solid minutes – Curtin is also a Hamilton Saltfleet grad – plus 6’2″ Nick Burke another Hamilton native who started several games last season.
The staff was very pleased with the summer efforts of 6’5″ Quincy Johnson, entering his sophomore year after arriving from Kelowna, B.C. and Furtado expects his high school teammate, floor-stretching shooter Kache Kopec to be arguably his top perimeter shooter.
This is a gritty team that plays each possession hard and now with more depth at the point and on the wings could be a tough out come playoff time. Lakehead hosts Winnipeg this weekend for a pair of games at the Thunderdome before venturing to Manitoba for road games on consecutive days against Brandon, Winnipeg and Manitoba. Their final weekend ahead of the start of the OUA season sees the Thunderwolves travel west on the 27th-29th October to meet Thompson Rivers, UNBC and UBC on consecutive nights Thursday through Saturday.